WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 23, 2023
TOPIC: DON’T BE A BURDEN TO OTHERS
BY T. O. BANSO
“Every governor who had been in office before me had been a burden to the people and had demanded forty silver coins a day for food and wine. Even their servants had oppressed the people. But I acted differently, because I honored God” (Nehemiah 5:15 Good New Translation).
Some people erroneously think that others exist for them. They feel they should transfer their responsibilities to them, especially if they are helpful. But the fact that someone is favourably disposed to help you does not mean that you should abandon your responsibilities. You shouldn’t become a burden or trouble to others.
Those who behave like this eventually become bitter when their helpers decide to stop because they have seen that they are not making efforts to accept responsibility for their lives. In reaction, they often go about speaking ill of their helpers as if they’ve not done anything for them.
Don’t be a burden to anyone no matter the challenges you’re facing in life. Except someone is facing a health challenge that incapacitates him and makes it impossible for him to do what he should normally do, nobody should be satisfied being a burden to anyone. “But the king said to Absalom, ‘No, my son, let us not all go now, lest we be a burden to you.’ Then he urged him, but he would not go; and he blessed him” (2 Samuel 13:25 New King James Version).
Strive to be a blessing to others, not a burden. In 2 Samuel 15:33, David said to his friend, Hushai the Archite, who had come to join him after David had fled Jerusalem following Absalom’s revolt, “If you go on with me, then you will become a burden to me” (New King James Version). He told him to return to Absalom and pledge allegiance to him so that he might defeat for him the counsel of Ahithophel. Hushai returned and God used him to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel as David had said.
Don’t be a burden to anyone; be a blessing. If someone is trying to help you, and you’re in a position to do something to help yourself, don’t be a burden by transferring your responsibilities to him. Let him see that you’re making efforts and you are not depending on him or have abdicated your responsibilities. Someone may have suffered a setback, and, therefore, not be able to do all the things you used to do, he should let his helper see that he is doing what he can do. It will encourage him, as he will see him not as a burden but as someone striving to get out of his present problem.
Are you in a leadership position, whether in business, ministry, public life, or private life? Don’t become a burden to those under you. Christians and, indeed church members, should see their pastors’ visits or presence in their midst as a blessing, not a burden. According to Ephesians 4:8-13, ministers of God are God’s gifts to the body of Christ. They’re not a burden, and they shouldn’t be.
Paul said to the Corinthians, “And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself” (2 Corinthians 11:9 New King James Version). In 2 Corinthians 12:16, he also said that he did not burden them. At Corinth, Acts 18:3 says that Paul engaged in tent-making. It wasn’t to acquire wealth but to support himself so that he would not be a burden to anyone.
Also at Thessalonica, Paul didn’t want to be a burden to the church there. Therefore, he had to work to support himself financially. He says in 1 Thessalonians 2:9, “For you remember, believers, our labor and hardship. We worked night and day [practicing our trade] in order not to be a [financial] burden to any of you while we proclaimed the gospel of God to you” (The Amplified Bible).
According to Paul in 2 Thessalonians 3:8, he did not eat anyone’s bread free of charge when he was in Thessalonica, but worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that he would not be a burden to any of the Thessalonian Christians. He added in verse 9 that he did so not because he didn’t have the right to such help but to make himself a model for them to follow. He, probably, engaged himself in tent-making here also.
While it is not wrong for a church to support a minister financially because Paul also received financial support in the ministry as recorded elsewhere (Philippians 4:15-19, 2 Corinthians 11:7-9), he should not become a burden to the church. A minister should not become a burden to those he is ministering to or who are supporting him. Also, a Christian should not become a burden to people who are helping him.
Gifts should not become a burden! Have you seen someone giving a gift before yet complaining secretly? That is when a gift becomes a burden! Such giving cannot be cheerful giving, which God loves. God loves a cheerful giver, not one who gives under pressure or duress (2 Corinthians 9:7). He wants you to be hospitable (Romans 12:13). But he also says in 1 Peter 4:9 to be hospitable to one another without grumbling. Pastors must discourage people from erroneously thinking that when they come for visitation to their homes or pastoral visits to their churches, their real motive is to collect gifts.
1 Samuel 9:6-9 says, “And he said to him, ‘Look now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honorable man; all that he says surely comes to pass. So let us go there; perhaps he can show us the way that we should go.’ Then Saul said to his servant, ‘But look, if we go, what shall we bring the man? For the bread in our vessels is all gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?’ And the servant answered Saul again and said, ‘Look, I have here at hand one-fourth of a shekel of silver. I will give that to the man of God, to tell us our way.’ (Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he spoke thus: ‘Come, let us go to the seer’; for he who is now called a prophet was formerly called a seer.)” (New King James Version). It was customary to give presents to prophets and it is not improper today, but it should not become a burden.
Appreciating or honouring a servant of God with a gift or present should not be misconstrued as paying him for ministering to one. In Saul’s story in 1 Samuel 9, when he eventually met Samuel, the present or gift to Samuel was not an issue. Instead, Samuel had prepared a special dinner for him as the Lord had told him the previous day about his visit.
In 1 Kings 14:1-3, a similar thing happened to the Prophet Ahijah. King Jeroboam told his wife to go to the prophet with a gift so that he could tell her what would happen to Jeroboam’s son, Abijah, who was terribly sick. But earlier in 1 Kings 11:29-39, what gift did Jeroboam give this servant of God before he prophesied to him that he would be king and he did become king? Jeroboam wasn’t expecting to meet the Prophet Ahijah that day and he didn’t ask him for any gift.
When Jeroboam’s wife, who had pretended to be someone else, got to the Ahijah, he didn’t even allow her to enter where he was before he started giving her the word of God that the child would die on her return home. He also gave her other bad news. But the prophet’s focus was not on any gift. And that is the case with any genuine servant of God or a servant of God who has not gone into error.
The truth about sowing seed into the lives of men of God, giving prophet’s offering, giving honorarium, etc. which is actually biblical, must always be put in proper context and not be overstretched. Otherwise, it will lead to errors. Ministers of God must not become a burden, but a blessing, to the people.
Are you a blessing or a burden? Nehemiah said, “Every governor who had been in office before me had been a burden to the people and had demanded forty silver coins a day for food and wine. Even their servants had oppressed the people. But I acted differently, because I honored God” (Nehemiah 5:15 Good New Translation).
As governor of Judah, Nehemiah, at his expense, regularly fed 150 Jewish officials at his table, besides all the visitors from other lands (Nehemiah 5:17). He provided each day one ox and six choice sheep and birds, and every ten days a large supply of different kinds of wine. Nehemiah was entitled to the Governor’s food allowance but he refused to claim it because he knew what heavy burdens the people had to bear. He didn’t want to put more burden on them.
Nehemiah didn’t behave like King Rehoboam, who said his father, Solomon, made the yoke of the Israelites heavy but he would add to it. He said his father chastised them with whips but he would chastise them with scourges (1 Kings 12:14). Consequently, the people rejected him as king. The kingdom was divided into two. He only ruled over his tribe, Judah, and the tribe of Benjamin while Jeroboam ruled over the remaining ten tribes.
Rehoboam should have followed the counsel of the elders and not that of the young men who had grown up with him. He should have listened to the plea of the people and reduced their burdens.
Don’t be a burden to others.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to be a blessing to others; let me not be a burden. I shall not abuse the kindness of others or unduly transfer my responsibilities to them. Father, I pray for mercy for those who are currently a burden to others because of illness or life’s adversities. Let them experience a divine turnaround. Change their story, O Lord.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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